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Bush’s Tougher Sanctions Still Inadequate – U.S. Must Do More to Protect Darfur
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 07:53
UN Security Council Details Plan for AU-UN Hybrid Force; Africa Action Calls for Rapid Movement towards Immediate Deployment

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 (Washington, DC) – Acknowledging President Bush’s ratcheting-up of American sanctions against Sudan for its genocidal role in Darfur, Africa Action still stresses that this escalation does not go nearly far enough.  In the last days of the U.S. presidency of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, and on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, Africa Action points out that that civilians in Darfur continue to be threatened by violence and urgently require the protection afforded by a UN peacekeeping mission.

Last week, the Security Council set forth a plan detailing the proposed deployment of an African Union (AU)-UN hybrid force of 23,000 personnel, and today, President Bush announced the implementation of augmented economic sanctions against Sudan.  As these developments emerge, the organization emphasized that the U.S. must engage a full range of diplomatic options to move towards immediate deployment.

Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “The U.S. has only days before its presidency of the Security Council ends. President Bush’s tightened sanctions come late in the game. On this Day of UN Peacekeepers, we are reminded of the pressing need for UN peacekeepers in Darfur.  The president must take other actions, and economic sanctions are but one tool.  We must couple sanctions with wide-ranging diplomacy to ensure Sudan’s acceptance of the full peacekeeping mission.  The U.S. must now work in concert with its international partners to make sure that a strong and effective force actually deploys.”

May 29th was established as the Day of UN Peacekeepers to honor those who serve in UN peacekeeping operations and the stability that their service engenders.  Yet, despite the recent stated agreement by the Sudanese government to allow the entry of 3,000 peacekeepers, this deployment has been held up, and reports indicate that only 44 UN military officials have been sent to Darfur.  At this rate, the agreed-upon deployment will take months to complete, according to an AU official.  Africa Action stressed that this process must be expedited.

Africa Action also emphasized that Sudan has not agreed to the deployment of the completed peacekeeping force, described in the Security Council’s new plan, and that the delays in securing and deploying a full peacekeeping mission to Darfur wreak devastating consequences on the ground.

Africa Action continues to work with groups around the country in planning “Sprints for Darfur,” events designed to highlight the need for protection and security on the ground. More information about this project can be found here: http://www.sprintfordarfur.com/

To demonstrate activists’ concern over the genocide in Darfur, Africa Action encourages individuals and groups to participate in its ongoing campaign to collect banners with red handprints.  These banners symbolize the large U.S. constituency pushing for the deployment of a protection force for Darfur and will be delivered to key decision-makers.  More information can be found here: http://www.africaaction.org/campaign_new/docs/bannerflyer.pdf.

For more information on Africa Action’s Campaign to Stop Genocide in Darfur, see here: http://www.africaaction.org/darfur.

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